Major Las Vegas-based casino companies are still looking into Brazil while the Operation Car Wash scandal keeps gaming laws untreated.
Brazil.- The intentions to legalise gambling have turned Brazil into one of the main targets -next to Japan- for Las Vegas-based casino companies. However, the Operation Car Wash scandal involving a huge number of politicians has pushed back any other issues to be discussed at the National Congress and it’s still uncertain when the gambling industry is going to be able to arrive in the country.
Despite uncertainty, casino giants Las Vegas Sands Corp. and Caesars Entertainment still have Brazil under their radar as a potential market.
Jan Jones Blackhurst, executive vice president of public policy and corporate responsibility for Caesars, said that the company “like all of the companies actively looking at Brazil right now, is going through an exercise in process,” as quoted by the Las Vegas Review Journal. The official noted on the lack of legislation but said that she still considers it as it coult be a “significant market.” She has already traveled to the country several times and thinks that at least four cities can support casinos as they are either a tourist destination or home of wealthy residents. Those cities being Brasilia (the safest bet for a casino in her opinion), Sao Paulo, Salvador da Bahia and Rio de Janeiro.
Rob Goldstein, president and chief operating officer of Las Vegas Sands, also commented on the company’s interest in Brazil: “Rio and especially Sao Paulo with its large population are compelling. If you look at comparable numbers for gaming in that region, it’s clearly a market you need to pay attention to,” he said.
The official also took a trip to Brazil to check out the country himself, and even CEO Sheldon Adelson tagged along as, according to Goldstein, “he decided to have a look for himself and he was impressed with what he saw.” The company was reported to be interested in making an US$8 billion investment in the country after the visit.
However, “we’re still far away from seeing legislation and the approval process,” Goldstein said and projected establishing casinos in the country to be “still far in the future.”
Blackhurst believes just as much, as “the final outcome will depend on what that legislation looks like.” She wondered what taxing would be like as well as regulations: “Is it at a tax level that allows you to invest the capital they expect? Are the regulations going to be of a standard that will allow U.S. companies with highly privileged and regulated licenses to be able to comfortably participate?”
Two different bills that would legalise casino gambling are currently in each House of the Congress. However, the political unrest in the country seems to be pushing back the gaming issue, as potential investors await.